Long-awaited transfer of OPP inmates to new jail complete - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Long-awaited transfer of OPP inmates to new jail complete

“OPP is closed forever, forever,” Sheriff Marlin Gusman said. (FOX 8 Photo) “OPP is closed forever, forever,” Sheriff Marlin Gusman said. (FOX 8 Photo)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

“We are moving into the 21st century. We are moving out of old complexes and buildings that were outdated,” Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman said.

Gusman calls it the end of an era.

“OPP is closed forever, forever,” Gusman said.

Yellow buses delivered prisoners to the new $145 million jail.

“This move is more than symbolic. When we started designing this facility over six years ago, we said we had to have public safety as a top priority. We knew that we couldn’t just have a short-term plan,” Gusman said.

The 1,438-bed facility, though, doesn’t have the capacity to house all of the inmates currently in the prison system. Because of space issues, some 200 pretrial inmates at the old prison had to be transferred to Franklin and East Carol parishes, which is creating some big problems for the public defender’s office.

On top of that, several inmates have already missed their court dates.

“We are not in a prison to have to travel four hours away without substantial delays in court. Even today, with private clients, a trail was delayed because the client is no longer here in the jurisdiction and is update,” head of the Public Defenders Office Derwyn Bunton said.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu was not at all in favor of moving the pretrial inmates. The administration even filed a temporary restraining order against the sheriff on Friday.

“I think the sheriff is holding approximately 350 prisoners that are the state’s responsibility, so this is Governor Jindal’s responsibility, and then we’re sending our prisoners out of the parish. That doesn’t seem to make any sense to us,” Landrieu said.

The new facility is dubbed phase two, but the four-story jail has been the subject of contention between the sheriff and the mayor for some time. Gusman even took a jab at the mayor over the building of phase three.

“FEMA’s allocated the funds for it, but there’s been no action by the city to do anything about it,” Gusman said.

“We have a facility that we think will house all of the needs that the city is responsible for, and if we take prisoners from across the state and want to house them, that’s a different story. You can’t build a jail big enough to do that,” Landrieu said.

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